News about the foundation, girls' education, and women's rights in Afghanistan
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Sixteen-year-old Barnaz is a tenth grader at the Zabuli Education Center. She enrolled in 2008 as a third grader.
Barnaz’s father is a taxi driver in Deh’Subz and her mother is a homemaker. She has three sisters and two brothers. Both of her sisters are students at the Zabuli Education Center: Rukhsar (sixth grade) and Zubaida (fifth grade). Her youngest sister, five-year-old Mahnaz, has paraplegia and is unable to walk. Mahnaz has enrolled at the Zabuli Education Center and will begin kindergarten in March 2016. Barnaz’s elder brother is in the ninth grade and her other brother is in grade one. Both attend public school in Deh'Subz.
Barnaz became engaged in 2014. Her in-laws decided to have the wedding in 2016. Barnaz very much wants to complete her schooling.
Barnaz is restrained and polite. She enjoys making beautiful pen cases, bread cases, handkerchief cases, and so on from beautiful colored beads. Her favorite subjects are English and computer science. She wants to become a teacher and work at the Zabuli Education Center as a kindergarten teacher.
Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation proudly announces that the first class of seniors at the Zabuli Education Center for girls in Afghanistan, founded by CNN Hero Razia Jan, will graduate with high school diplomas on December 12, 2015. The ceremony will be live-streamed for viewers around the globe late Friday night and early Saturday morning. For viewing instructions, visit our home page.
The Zabuli Education Center is a thriving K-12 school in the district of Deh’Subz that has flourished since opening its doors eight years ago, providing free, superlative education in a highly impoverished area:
- Student enrollment has grown from 109 students to nearly 500.
- By the Afghan Ministry of Education’s metrics for administration, curricula, and facilities, the Zabuli Education Center is the top private school in the district. Students continually pass Ministry-issued semi-annual exams with flying colors. A representative from the Ministry is on record describing the school as “perfect.”
- The school’s attendance rate is 93% and retention rate is 96%.
- In 2013, the school added a third floor to accommodate demand.
- Illiterate fathers who were once leery about sending their daughters to school now express pride that their little girls can help them read letters—even in English.
- Village elders, who once refused to look Razia in the eye, now praise her efforts and support the school’s growth, referring to Razia as the “Mother of Deh’Subz.”
- Girls who once were silent about forced engagements and early marriages are now speaking up and finding ways to negotiate more time in school.
“What these students have accomplished today is beyond my expectations, but not beyond my dreams,” said Razia Jan. “They have opened the doors of knowledge and freedom in their lives—and that achievement can never be taken away. There is no one in the world so proud of these girls as I am.”
Those looking for a way to support Razia’s Ray of Hope are encouraged to Sponsor a student; details are available here.
A number of these graduates will be part of the inaugural semester at the brand-new Razia Jan Institute, the first post-secondary institute for women in rural Afghanistan, which is currently under construction on a site adjacent to the Zabuli Education Center. Two courses of study will be offered: office administration and health services/midwifery. The latter program will establish the first health care clinic in the district. Students will graduate in two years with marketable, much-needed skills and the ability to work in schools, businesses, government, and health care—careers that are compatible with being a married, observant Afghan woman. The institute will also provide English and computer classes.
Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation has received international accolades for its critical impact in one of the world’s most distressed and volatile countries. The foundation provides opportunities to learn and grow in a safe, nurturing environment, empowering girls through education and resources so that they may work toward brighter futures in their own villages and beyond.
Now, more than ever, concerned global citizens must come together to enact positive, systemic change. In no uncertain terms, the future—the future we share—depends upon our unified collaboration. Girls' education is acknowledged to be one of the most effective means of reducing poverty, fostering stability, and combating violent extremism.
Will you join our family of supporters by Sponsoring one of our eager young students? Girls like seven-year-old Shokria—who wants to become a teacher when she grows up—depend on you to fulfill their own dreams of making the world a better place.
Since opening our doors eight years ago, our school has grown from 109 students to 530. We've expanded our building to accommodate demand. Our students take exams issued by the Afghan Ministry of Education twice a year, and continually pass with flying colors. We're thrilled that our first class of seniors will graduate on December 12—and that many of them will be part of our inaugural semester at the brand-new Razia Jan Institute, the first college for women in rural Afghanistan.
Sponsorship is the perfect gift for the loved one in your life who wants to make a positive impact in our global village. Honor him or her with the gift of hope — a holiday present that will endure well after the wrappings and festivities have faded away. A gift letter for your recipient is available for download here.
Through our Sponsorship program, for just $25 a month—about the cost of one caffè latte a week—you provide one of our students with quality education and opportunity. During each year of Sponsorship, you or your gift recipient will receive:
- A handwritten card from our founder, CNN Hero Razia Jan
- A photo of your student along with her biographical introduction
- Two personal letters from your student, in English!
The impact of your support becomes tangible as you come to know an Afghan student personally in a relationship that enriches her life—and yours.
Our goal is to reach 100% Sponsorship by the end of 2015. This is our end-of-year campaign and we will not be asking you for any other contribution. Please, join our Sponsorship program today. Your student is waiting!